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Healing through Gardening at Magdalene House Chicago

Where healing blooms and hope flourishes

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Healing through Gardening at Magdalene House Chicago

As we begin the second year of our gardening journey with Magdalene House Chicago (MHC), we reflect on the profound impact that gardening has had within this community. These gardens are not just a source of nutritious food, they are a sanctuary where women survivors of sex trafficking, prostitution, and addiction have found solace and strength; where healing is nurtured and hope flourishes.

GardenWorks believes that the act of gardening transcends the simple planting of seeds. It can be a transformative, therapeutic activity that empowers individuals to take control of their well-being. Gardens offer a peaceful retreat to engage with nature, experience the satisfaction of nurturing life with one’s own hands, and witness the tangible results of that care and dedication.

In 2023, The GardenWorks Project planted the seeds of our inaugural garden beds with Magdalene House Chicago. Guided by a shared vision of healing and restoration, we watched with profound pride as these gardens blossomed, providing a nurturing space for the survivors at MHC to heal and grow.  “Providing women with an opportunity to spend a few moments each day, outdoors in their own gardens, amongst beautiful produce, grown with pride and purpose, provides all of us at The GardenWorks Project a profound sense of joy.” noted Amanda Bryant, GardenWorks Programs Manager. The GardenWorks Project was honored to be named “Community Partner of the Year” following the close of the 2023 season.

In this new season, we carry with us the knowledge that the gardens at Magdalene House Chicago have blossomed into a profound emblem of resilience. Each plant that pushes through the soil represents the incredible strength and determination of the survivors. As they tend to the gardens, they also cultivate personal growth, finding within themselves the capacity to thrive to their fullest potential. These verdant spaces are not just plots of earth; they are a testament to the enduring strength and spirit of the women who tend them.

In the beautiful words of a Magdalene House Resident as we commence this new season, “Let us celebrate the transformative power of gardening as a healing tool for survivors. May the seeds reflect the resilience and renewal within themselves. Together, let us create a garden of hope, love, and growth, where survivors can bloom into their fullest potential.”


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